Hello, my name is Edward Goldman, and I am an art-aholic. There, I've said it. Dope, drugs, and alcohol don't do much for me, but art...that is another matter. Art has held me in its grip for as long as I can remember. If, God forbid, there is no museum or art gallery within thirty minutes of wherever I am, my blood pressure drops dangerously to the point where demons start dancing in front of my eyes.
For years I've been avoiding anything that normal people think of as a vacation: idyllic places with picturesque scenery, good food, lots of sleep...ugh... But last month I summoned the courage to accept an invitation to spend two whole weeks in the tiny village of Le Garn in the south of France - in the middle of nowhere. It took me a day and a half just to get there. By planes, trains, and automobiles I reached this small village: population 221, a few dozen houses, one church, and not a single store or café - just miles of sprawling fields of sunflowers, vineyards, and blossoming lavender. Oh my, how would I survive in a setting so perfect, so paradisical, so far away from any place to feed my art addiction?
To the rescue came great friends bearing gifts: Monet, whose landscapes were all around me as I walked through fields of lavender swaying gently in the breeze. Van Gogh, whose canvases I literally stepped into upon discovering fields of sunflowers stretching to the horizon. The short, parallel brushstrokes of his landscapes still echo the rhythm of the rough old stones comprising the walls of the village buildings.
And even when I descended 1500 feet below ground into the famous prehistoric Orgnac l'Aven cave, one of the Grand Sites of France, its stunning stalactites and stalagmites looked surprisingly familiar. It felt as if I'd stepped into a monumental, semi-abstract composition by Anselm Kiefer, the celebrated German artist who several years ago moved his studio to this remote region in search of peace and quiet. And what is the name of this snow-covered mountain on the horizon, I asked my hostess? Her reply simply floored me; it was Mont Saint Victoire, a life-long obsession of Cézanne, who immortalized it in hundreds of his paintings.
So, there I was, in the middle of the most beautiful nowhere I'd ever seen, a place which has inspired generations of great artists. In spite of my deep resistance to taking photos while traveling, I simply had to grab the camera in a desperate attempt to capture the magic of the place that turned out to be a treasure trove of artistic discoveries. Look at these photos on the Art Talk page of the KCRW website and tell me if my intoxication comes through.
Banner image: Scenes from Le Garn